FedEx Driver Accused Of Wearing Noise Canceling Headphones In Deadly Crash
The victims of a bus accident crash have recently filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Five people died in the accident and nearly everyone aboard the bus was severely injured. One child was decapitated. Among the allegations against the driver, the plaintiffs claim that he was wearing noise-canceling headphones while operating his vehicle. Essentially, the plaintiffs claim that the driver was distracted while operating his FedEx truck and that led to a terrible and deadly collision.
Truck accident lawsuits and driver liability
Texas is still among the top states for truck accident verdicts. This is largely why Texas legislators have recently introduced legislation that would bifurcate truck accident injury trials. Bifurcating the trial means that the trial is literally split into two parts. Under the new legislation, the first part of the trial would not name any names, including the trucking company that allegedly contributed to the negligence. Instead, the jury would be asked to determine whether or not the driver was negligent. In most cases, the driver commits some form of traffic infraction that causes the injury that leads to the lawsuit. In those cases, the traffic infraction alone would be enough to prove negligence. Once the driver’s negligence has been established, the damages phase of the trial would begin. Then, the plaintiff could introduce evidence against the trucking company and the truck driver.
A mess. Firstly, the bus driver lost control of the bus in light snow causing the bus to pull across several lanes of traffic, across the median, and then capsize into oncoming traffic. The FedEx truck then entered the fray hitting the bus and was itself rear-ended by a UPS truck. The bus driver and two of the bus’s passengers were killed. Two people in the UPS truck were killed.
FedEx maintains that they were not liable for the crash and that the allegations are “without merit”. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs have a picture of the driver with noise-canceling headphones. Is that enough to win?
Bifurcating the trial
The strongest claim the plaintiffs can make is actually against the bus company and their driver who was also tragically killed in the incident. In Texas, the trial would be bifurcated against each defendant. The jury would likely find that the bus driver was operating his vehicle unsafely for the conditions and that he was negligent for the crash. The negligence of the FedEx driver, however, is far less clear. The FedEx driver struck the bus after it had careened from the other direction. The FedEx truck was a tractor-trailer. Those things do not stop on a dime. The driver can claim that he had no time to react. In a bifurcated trial, the jury may find that the negligence was contributed almost entirely by “the first vehicle in the chain”, in other words, the bus. FedEx may be right, noise-canceling headphones or no.
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The Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers file lawsuits against companies that negligently employ professional drivers who cause accidents. Call today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your situation in more detail.